[News] Tear it all up

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 21 21:04:02 EDT 2021


electronicintifada.net 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/omar-karmi/tear-it-all>


  Tear it all up

Omar Karmi <https://electronicintifada.net/people/omar-karmi> - 21 May 2021

------------------------------------------------------------------------
A small group of people stand next to a fire holding a Palestinian flag 
in the dark

Protestors burn tires near Gaza’s boundary with Israel in early May in 
solidarity with families in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah 
neighborhood, threatened with eviction.

APA images

Damned.

Whatever they do, Palestinians are damned.

They are damned if they exercise their internationally sanctioned right 
to resist 
<https://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/BAC85A78081380FB852560D90050DC5F> 
– including the right to armed resistance – against an illegal, colonial 
and belligerent military occupation that is constantly consolidating in 
search of permanence.

And they are damned if they don’t, if they choose to put their faith in 
the empty promises of an “international community” that is too divided 
and cowardly to respect and enforce its own rules.

We’ve been here before. We’ve been here in 2014, in 2012, in 2008-09 and 
countless other times, after which nothing changed.

If anything, this time, as families in Gaza yet again had to huddle 
together at night to make fateful choices 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/israel-kills-children-doctors-horrific-nighttime-massacre> 
about whether to stay together and die together or separate and hope at 
least some survive, the world has been even more criminally negligent 
than usual.

 From Washington 
<https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/12/world/middleeast/biden-netanyahu-israel.html> 
to Budapest 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/david-cronin/ceasefire-calls-dont-erase-how-eu-chief-spread-israels-lies>, 
western powers – the so-called guarantors of the international order – 
effectively endorsed Israel’s strategy-less slaughter in the name of 
“self-defense.”

(Self-defense against its own occupation 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-attacks-gaza-after-jerusalem-defeat/32936>? 
A bizarre idea 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/israeli-self-defense-against-palestinians-logically-impossible/25066>.)

Root causes remain unaddressed as ever.


    Changes

We’ve been here before, but maybe there is a difference this time.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank protested in solidarity with 
Gaza, as they always do. There were global demonstrations too as there 
always is.

But this time Palestinians inside the 1948 boundaries took to the 
streets in numbers not seen in decades 
<https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/8639>, provoking an ugly 
backlash 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/today-we-are-nazis-says-member-israeli-jewish-extremist-group/33081> 
from racist Israeli mobs that will not quickly be forgotten.

And it was resistance to forced displacement 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/fear-and-fury-sheikh-jarrah/32946> 
in Jerusalem that sparked this escalation in the first place.

That resistance has so far proven successful, not least thanks to the 
concerted efforts of Sheikh Jarrah residents 
<https://twitter.com/m7mdkurd/status/1395406058315829257> themselves and 
Palestinian Jerusalemites generally, who seem to have found new voice 
and new inspiration.

Terminology is changing. The terms “apartheid” or “ethnic cleansing” – 
once the purview of Palestinian human rights organizations and a few 
outspoken outliers like this publication – are now almost common 
currency, aided by human rights groups like B’tselem 
<https://www.btselem.org/publications/fulltext/202101_this_is_apartheid> 
and Human Rights Watch 
<https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/04/27/abusive-israeli-policies-constitute-crimes-apartheid-persecution>.

The still-pending evictions in Sheikh Jarrah were also hugely 
instructive. There were some wild-eyed attempts to paint 
<https://www.newsweek.com/middle-east-give-war-chance-opinion-1592611> 
the forcible displacement of Palestinian families in occupied territory 
as a trumped-up controversy inspired by anti-Jewish bigotry.

But the fact that laws can be invoked by one set of people and not 
another – Jews and not Palestinians, and thus the very opposite here of 
anti-Jewish bigotry – was the standout lesson.

It was one picked up 
<https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/east-jerusalems-sheikh-jarrah-becomes-emblem-palestinian-struggle-2021-05-10/> 
by mainstream media.

All this normalizes a new vocabulary necessary for substantial change.

A petition in the UK <https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/585314> 
has forced parliament to debate whether the country should sanction 
Israel – note, not settlements, not just an arms embargo, but /all/ trade.

In the US, legislators are bringing opposition 
<https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/sanders-arms-sale-israel-1172352/> 
to arms sales to Israel, once unheard of, to the congressional floor for 
debate.

Both will fail.

But narratives, like ships at sea, turn only with time and effort.

(Some are skeptical about the battle over narrative. But while it is 
true that narratives change slowly and do not save lives, when they do 
change, they can change history.)


    Tear it all up

Grassroots solidarity with Palestinians seems to have hit the mainstream 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkQ4HZAepYc> and gone global 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/video-world-stands-palestine/33166> 
just as governments have gone the other way 
<https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/queens-speech-includes-measures-to-stop-council-boycotts/> 
and doubled down 
<https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/biden-administration-approved-735-million-arms-sale-israel-sources-2021-05-17/> 
on their defense of Israel.

But the battle for Palestine will ultimately be decided there, not at 
Wembley <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU_zECuJyRU> stadium.

And it is up to Palestinians and their leaders to show that there can be 
no return to business as usual.

It is up to Palestinians to drive home the point that, between river and 
sea, there is unity among Palestinians – all of whom are denied rights 
and treated unequally – as well as population parity with Israeli Jews.

It is no longer tenable for any Palestinian leadership to go, hat in 
hand, and plead with the international community for help, a divided 
polity not behind them. No real help is forthcoming.

And right of resistance or none, playing the rocket game is playing a 
game Israel excels at. Israel loves nothing more than to pound Gaza with 
the latest in its armory. It does so regularly. It does so without 
restraint. And it does so as long as it wants.

Israel needs to feel real political consequences that its military 
superiority cannot address and for which its endless support among 
Western countries cannot mitigate.

To start with, Palestinian leaders need to take steps to dislodge a 
status quo that suits only Israel while irrevocably serving notice to 
the “international community” that times have changed.

They could start by disbanding all Palestinian Authority departments and 
security services not engaged in civil administrative work like 
education and health and the civil police, to assert that the PA will no 
longer serve any function to aid Israel’s occupation.

Elections to the PA were always a bit of a panacea 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/omar-karmi/election-fiasco-illustrates-leadership-vacuum>, 
but the popular will needs to be expressed as comprehensively as 
possible. Hold a vote for the Palestine National Council, the 
Legislative Council of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, expanded 
to include all factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others 
currently excluded, as well as representatives of Palestinians in the 
diaspora.

The PNC will in turn decide the make-up of the next Palestinian 
leadership. All Palestinians everywhere should be offered a chance to 
vote. Practical obstacles can be overcome with technological solutions.

Finally, formally reject and repudiate the Oslo accords, all agreements 
with Israel subsequent to them, and make it clear that an emerging 
Palestinian leadership will not negotiate basic rights.

These may seem like drastic measures.

But it’s hard to see any other way out of the current paradigm of 
endless settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing, accompanied by the 
brutalization, impoverishment and de-development of generations of 
Palestinians, punctuated by brief and intense periods of criminal violence.

Certainly no exit from this misery is offered by the 
sometimes-apologetic-sometimes-not hand-wringing of an international 
community footing the bill but not paying the price.


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